What Does “Military-Friendly School” Really Mean?

What Does “Military-Friendly School” Really Mean?


By Jim Sweizer
Vice President, Military Programs at American Military University

Update: 7/11/2012: Listen to Jim Sweizer discuss what being a “military-friendly” school means, and how that term has evolved over time.

Have you ever seen the term “military-friendly” used in an advertising campaign or on the Internet by a college or university?  Ever wonder what it actually means?

Although an astute military student could probably suggest several dozen factors relating to policies, services, and processes that pertain to military-friendliness, one only has to turn to Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) to acquire a grasp of what this term really means.

SOC is an organization that was created in 1972 to “expand and improve voluntary postsecondary education opportunities for servicemembers worldwide.”  Approximately 1,900 schools are members of the SOC Consortium.  All SOC schools agree to adhere to the SOC Criteria and Principles of Good Practice that basically stipulate an institution’s policies recognize the unique conditions faced by military students.  It is here where you will find the basic characteristics of a “military-friendly” school.

  1. Membership in the SOC Consortium
    Any school claiming to be military-friendly should be a member of the SOC Consortium, thereby adhering to the SOC Criteria and Principles of Good Practice.
  2. Recognizing Military Training for Award of College-Level Credit
    A school should have a process in place that reviews military training (technical school, professional military education [PME], and similar programs) for the potential award of college credit. 
  3. Awarding Credit for Extra-Institutional Learning
    This means recognizing credit recommendations for successful completion of nationally recognized testing programs such as CLEP and DSST.
  4. Responsiveness and Flexibility
    Academic institutions should have policies and processes in place that recognize the unique lifestyle of active duty, Guard/Reserve personnel and their spouses.
  5. Institutional Commitment to Servicemembers and Veterans
    A school should have a dedicated staff to serve servicemembers and veterans.  A faculty training program should exist which thoroughly explains the special needs of these groups, to include strategies to address unique circumstance related to mission commitments, deployments, work schedules and other factors impacting adult learners.

Whether a school has just a few dozen, or as many as 60,000+ military students/veterans like American Military University, being “military-friendly” is more than just policy and practices.  It’s a mindset that emanates from the heart and very spirit of our nation’s  servicemembers and veterans as they strive to better themselves through academic achievement. 

Jim Sweizer joined the staff of American Military University in April 2005 after serving over 33 years in the Air Force as an active duty member and civil servant. As Vice President of Military Programs, he oversees all military outreach activities and serves as the main liaison between the university and Department of Defense agencies.



Learn From The Leader

American Military University (AMU) is proud to be the #1 provider of higher education to the U.S. military, based on FY 2018 DoD tuition assistance data, as reported by Military Times, 2019. At AMU, you’ll find instructors who are former leaders in the military, national security, and the public sector who bring their field-tested skills and strategies into the online classroom. And we work to keep our curriculum and content relevant to help you stay ahead of industry trends. Join the 64,000 U.S. military men and women earning degrees at American Military University.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.